MLA argues the case for a North Belfast stadium

Last week it was announced that the British Government has short listed three locations for the site of a £55m multi-sports stadium.

They are the Maze Prison site, the North Foreshore of Belfast Lough and the Titanic Quarter in East Belfast.
Nine other sites for the proposed 30,000-seat stadium were rejected due to planning or transport difficulties.
Sports Minister Angela Smith said no decision would be taken until a detailed economic appraisal and business case had been completed.
Many pundits have said that the Maze site remains the favourite as it is understood that the Titanic Quarter would be too expensive – possibly costing up to £60m to buy, while much of the reclaimed North Foreshore at Belfast Lough is contaminated.
North Belfast SDLP MLA Alban Maginness believes that North Foreshore should be top of the list.
“There has been a lot of talk lately about a brand new state-of-the-art stadium and there is no doubt that we do need an up-to-date facility that can be shared right across the community.
“Sport is a huge element in the life of this community and our sportsmen and sportswomen deserve the best, which clearly we do not have at the moment.
“Both Windsor Park and Casement Park have been updated and well improved, but to do justice to soccer, rugby and gaelic football we really need a 21st century facility.
“Neither sport could on their own afford a new stadium, or get the full benefit of a brand new site. And of course there are plenty of other sports that would benefit enormously from being able to host national and international matches and events.
“But in all the debate and discussion on this issue, our own local potential site the North Foreshore is rarely given much prominence. And why not? The North Foreshore is a huge expanse of reclaimed land, owned by BCC and readily available for development and is ideally suited to such a use.
“The site is large enough to accommodate a ‘super stadium’, never mind an ordinary one. It is effectively a ‘green field’ site and it has easy access to the M2 and M3, with quick access to the airport and the ferries – making it more central than other options. It is for example more central than the much-vaunted Maze site.
“We need to continue investing in Belfast in order to consolidate the gains made in the last number of years and to guarantee its continued growth.
“All of us in the North of the city realise how badly starved this area is of real investment and the citing of the stadium would be a major boost for this part of Belfast.
“It would be a very powerful message to the rest of the business world that North Belfast is a good place in which to invest. The prestigious stadium would be a living symbol of the regeneration of North Belfast.
“The stadium and its complex of complementary leisure facilities such as a hotel and restaurants would be a wonderful demonstration of the government’s confidence in our area.
“Let’s hope therefore that there will be a careful consideration by government of the North Foreshore site as it is ideally suited for that purpose and as a community we deserve some good news and good fortune for a change.”


Journalist:: Áine McEntee

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?